"Is this food good for me?" I am not sure if I missed the news cast that informed all American citizens to ask this question when approached by a dietitian or what, but I seem to be confronted with this question multiple times a day as I meet new people in this fabulous city of Winston-Salem. The question does not annoy me yet, however it exposes the confusion associated with healthy eating in our well educated world. The way we categorize foods in to "good" and "bad" groups ultimately inhibits our ability to understand how to eat for our health. I remember back to when I was a little girl and my neighbor informed me that oranges were good for my health and helped people be thin. My mouth began salivating because I loved oranges. My diet quickly changed to consuming more oranges than one little girl needed, but they were "good" for me. I think this orange kick may have lasted two or three days until we ran out of oranges and I got sick of them.
Now don't get me wrong, oranges ARE good for me and yes people who consume diets high in fruits and vegetables tend to have healthier body weights, but my little girl solution of changing my diet to oranges neglected all other important healthy eating principles. Just because one food has good qualities does not make it the perfect food. In fact, there is no such thing as one perfect food. A variety of foods are needed to maintain optimal health. When someone asks me, "Is peanut butter good for me?" I will respond by asking, "Do you have a peanut allergy? How often do you eat it? What do you eat it with? How much of it are you eating?"
***One food alone cannot equal a good diet unless you are a solely breastfeeding infant!
It makes me smile when people just want the yes or no answer and find my questions confusing. They only wanted to know if it is good or bad, but they are asking the wrong question. Moderation is the key to any food. Water is great for you unless you drink too much in which case you can die. French fries could save a starving person's life if the only food around, but eaten daily over many years can contribute to clogged arteries. Think about how often the food is consumed and how much of it. Most foods can be incorporated into a healthy diet with variety and moderation. And to the next person who asks me if something is good for them or really bad, come to my office and I will teach you a new perspective on food!
Nutrition from the dietitian
Blog of Abrea Nutrition.